Today I started thinking about the years I spent sitting in Youth Group feeling frustrated.
I’ve started going to a new youth group by the way, which appears to be much better.
But I always wanted to know why youth don’t seem to take their faith or the bible seriously.
The conversations I’ve had with other teens about passages in the bible that aren’t often talked about, well their ignorance or indifference is surprising.
But over the years I’ve sat in Church services that talked to grown men and women pretty much how the youth leaders talk to their youth, only the adult services focus more on sin.
as any Christian teen over here can tell you, Youth Groups tend to cover purity, identity, and not behind addicted to technology by being a good example to your friends.
And all those are great messages, which I have needed and still need. The problem was, those messages should be seasonal, or every so often, but they made up the bulk of my youth group teaching.
As a homeschooler, I always felt like it was to easy for me. No one talked about books much, no one watched the same movies as I did, often enough; and no one expected me to retain much of what I heard, or to do the ridiculously easy assignments.
People could come to our youth leaders with their problems, but they couldn’t seem to actually follow their example. Why?
I don’t have a magic answer, but let me tell you about a contrasting experience I had.
When I went on my missions trip, the other teens were the most well-behaved, respectful bunch of peers I’ve probably ever been around. Except other homeschoolers. (Sorry, but it’s true.) We all wanted similar things, we all took pains to be nice to each other and to serve the people of Cambodia well. A lot of them also ate bugs, but hey, that’s normal in Asia. (And most other places except America.)
Phones were still a bit of an issue, but they at least kept it to a minimal. what made this group so different?
Well, the sad thing is, it didn’t stay that way entirely. Once we all go back, all of us hit some heavy obstacles in our everyday lives. Some of us floundered, others kept right on swimming. I admire one member of the group in particular for continuing to be of service to the people around them. I myself had to deal with a lot even the very day I came home.
I’ve never been common, and I don’t think anyone else would exactly fit the societal mode either, so what caused some of us to lose our grip?
My theory is it’s the same thing that plagues most other young people, here and in every place where kids have the opportunity to d more than survive.
You see, there’s a principle of life. Your situation is not what matters, it’s your outlook.
The fact is, no matter how hard our life is, we choose whether we live just for survival or not.
I have known plenty of people who are just trying to get through every day, whether its’ doing their school, their work, or possibly actually trying to keep food on their plate.
And like or not, when you live like the day-to-day challenges are the worst thing in your life, you have adopted an attitude of survival.
It’s not a good way to live, because it’s selfish, and it makes your vision very narrow.
They wonder why teens don’t care about church, it’s probably because they have learned to survive without it.
Personally, if I hadn’t found a good church to go to, I’d be at the end of my rope right now. I need the encouragement of being around other people who believe, people who I can sing to God with and they wont’ think I’m crazy. Non-believers take that kind of freedom for granted, I think. But it’s harder to find than it seems.
They say that the church is not relevent. That may true of some churches. But the ones I have gone to are usually quite relevant to some people. They feed the homeless, provide free childcare in a safe environment for busy parents. provide na alternative to secular culture; and give Christians a place to feel they are understood.
The church is much more than a safe haven of course, but the one problem is, very few teenagers appreciate having a safe haven unless they are in big trouble.
The teens I’ve known who came to church consistently were the ones with the most unstable lives, often enough. Sometimes they were more committed. Sometimes they were pastor’s kids and took more of an interest because of that. But I never heard any one of them say they came to church because it was a challenge, or because they felt it was dangerous.
That is, in my opinion, a huge percent of the problem.
we’ve taught kids that they can be anything, and prepared them for an adventure when they are young, but when they are teens, we start saying “Only a few more years of school.” There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, in other words. I don’t blame anyone for hating public school as I can’t imagine going to it myself, but church is treated the same way.
And I know you may not go to church and so may not care, but trust me, this is affecting you too. What do you get when a whole generation starts living just to survive. I almost prefer the past generations who lived for fun or to make a wealthy lifestyle, kids have grown up hearing that is not the most important thing, but they have no heard what is.
Or maybe they just don’t believe it anymore.
I am not letting teens off the hook. No one can make you stop caring except you.
But I’ll have to continue this in part two. Until then–Natasha.